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PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush presents the first of five key matchups in the Packers' Week 10 game Monday night against the Vikings at Lambeau Field.
Vikings DRE Jared Allen vs. Packers OLT Marshall Newhouse
With normal Packers starting OLT Chad Clifton still sidelined with a hamstring injury, it will be up to Newhouse to do a much better job against Allen than he did in the Oct. 23 game in Minnesota. Allen had a phenomenal outing in the Packers' 33-27 victory in Week Seven, registering two of his league-leading 12½ sacks and three tackles for loss.
But Newhouse didn't put up much of a challenge, often appearing to be out of position and a tad late in his drops. Newhouse also was guilty of poor run blocking. Things got so bad at one point that the Packers actually considered replacing Newhouse with Bryan Bulaga, who would have switched over from right tackle. But Newhouse is back as the starter, presumably on a short leash. He does have excellent footwork in his favor.
Allen, who made Pro Football Weekly's Midseason All-Pro team, is on pace for 25 sacks, which would shatter Michael Strahan's league mark of 22. There are some league observers who believe many of his sacks this season have been real cheapies. Whether or not that's true, Allen is a dominant, big-play force with a hell-bent style fueled by a nonstop motor, and it would not be a shock if the Packers frequently double-team him and depend on backs and tight ends to help keep him in check.